Famous Last Words: ‘The Large Print Giveth and the Small Print Taketh Away’**
Rob Yoegel, Target Marketing’s webmaster, sent over an ad for Bombardier Flexjet from USA TODAY, calling it the “world’s funniest, craziest, strangest, worst ad.” His reasoning: The super head at the top offers a Learjet 45 for $4,600 a month. For the harried CEO who spends hours in airports, this is a real attention-getter. Ah, but then we have the mousetype at the bottom:
* Plus monthly management fee of $6,485, hourly rate of $1,760 and fuel component adjustment.
Isn’t this tacky? The mousetype totally negates the promise at the top. Ipso facto: liar, liar, pants on fire! Other examples of this deal-killer technique I have seen lately:
Fly to London - $99! *
*One way on a required round-trip ticket plus $180 fuel supplement.
Stop Heartburn and Gas with [X]! *
*Not to be used by nursing mothers. May cause kidney stones, rectal cancer, hair loss, and low libido. If symptoms persist, call your priest for extreme unction.
And then, of course, we have all those credit card and insurance offers with paragraphs of light-gray sans serif mousetype inserted by the firms’ lawyers that the marketing people hope nobody reads. Deal killers, all.
It was the great Elsworth Howell, best-in-show judge at the American Kennel Club dog show in Madison Square Garden and founder of Grolier Enterprises, who said, “Always try to convert a disadvantage into an advantage.”
In point of fact, this offer of a gorgeous private jet is fabulous for a time-pressed CEO. A good headline:
Hate Wasting Time in Airports and Lines?
PUT THIS $12 MILLION BEAUTY AT YOUR DISPOSAL FOR JUST $11,085 A MONTH and then pay the amazingly low hourly rate!
**Headline/quote by singer/songwriter Tom Waits.
Denny Hatch, consultant and freelance copywriter, founder of Who’s Mailing What! (now Inside Direct Mail) and former editor of Target Marketing, is the author of “PRICELINE.COM: A Layman’s Guide to Manipulating the Media” and “Method Marketing.” Visit his Web site, www.pricelineandthemedia.com, or e-mail him at email@example.com.